Why do people you don’t think are any good get Cabin Crew jobs?

There is little more frustrating than to see someone you don’t rate very highly getting a job as cabin crew. It can have a positive effect if you suspect you would be much better suited and it spurs you on to apply yourself. But if you had already applied and lost out, it can be hard to work out what on earth is going on!

Why does it sometimes feel like other people find it easier than you to get a job you really don’t think they deserve?

1. They look the part

This used to be a big factor in cabin crew selection process but less so now. The airlines have too much at stake in terms of customer loyalty and reputation, not to mention safety/security to rely on just pretty faces. We’ve seen people from all backgrounds and ages successfully apply. Being well turned out helps of course, but it’s the applicant who understands what the brand needs and know how to demonstrate that in an engaging and authentic way at the selection day, who will be offered a job. So if you think someone got the job just because they have a nice smile and pretty face, you may have to look a bit further into what they have to offer.

2. They know how to cheat an assessment process

This is unlikely because they will be assessed by several different people throughout the process; they will be faced with unfamiliar exercises; they will be evaluated against set criteria and their scores will need to be justified, based on their performance. They may well have prepared for the assessment process but this isn’t cheating, its just being smart.

3. They can talk a good game

Some people can be confident communicators, saying all the right things but in reality, they are often just empty words. In an assessment, a ‘smooth talker’ will score well on certain aspects, perhaps team working, communicating, or even problem solving. But if they aren’t good at taking action and delivering on promises in real life, they won’t be good at doing so in an assessment either, and their performance will have some holes. If they are still offered a job despite this, they will have enough other positive attributes to compensate. Everyone has weaknesses as well as strengths, and a strong team works around these.

4. They’re too young/ inexperienced etc

Young or less experienced applicants can have plenty to offer, perhaps just in different areas than more mature candidates. They may not have the breadth of knowledge or experience yet but to be offered a job they will have shown that they have great potential to grow into the role, under careful training and guidance.

5. They won’t take the job seriously/they aren’t committed

Only time will tell if you are right or not on this one. But if you think you can do better then the best approach is to focus on our own hopes, plans and cabin crew applications and make sure you achieve your career and lifestyle potential too.

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Hannah is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist specialising in recruitment, selection and assessment. This means she designs and assesses at selection days just like the ones airlines use.

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